Thursday, January 27, 2005

The students who did a brilliant job assisting Mr.Allan Parker with his photoshoot in Chennai recently on behalf of British Council. Well done guys! Thanks for doing the job at such short notice!

After analyzing the strength and weakness of all major stakeholders, this team of enthusiastic young IT professionals has developed a comprehensive system, , whose basic theme is: With the strength of Information Technology, irrespective of literacy level, providing industrial approach to rural activities, in line with rural psychology, with the available resources, at the Panchayat level.
The hard work has yielded the result. The team has got an opportunity to prove the proposed web system in PULIVENDLA Mandal, KADAPA District, Andhra Pradesh.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Another well managed show by StudentConcepts. UTPALA was an initiative of Anita Ratnam(in blue behind the man). Vijay, Abiliash and Nazim were the members that executed the job. Vijay has had a busy month. He was involved in The Other Festival 2004, then Utpala and now the upcoming evam play. Thats 3 months of part time work!!! Good job sir!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Zero Waste

By Dharmesh Shah

A better quality of life for future generations is the principal aim of a Zero Waste strategy. Protection of the environment, a sustainable level of economic growth and employment, and social progress which meets the needs of everyone are key elements of such a strategy. But unless we humans learn a fourth component -- more prudent use the Earth's natural resources -- it is highly doubtful that the other three can be achieved. The "take, make, and waste" mentality that has guided our economy for decades must be replaced by the desirable and visionary goal of Zero Waste. Our human economy is undeniably dependent on Nature's economy. Society cannot sensibly afford to continue wasting Nature's resources, many of which (particularly metals and oil-based materials such as plastic) are available in limited quantities in the environment, or are difficult or environmentally damaging to extract. Nature has been operating the longest running, most successful Zero Waste model of all. To achieve sustainability, humans will have to learn to "act naturally."

Recycling has been labeled the most successful environmental initiative in human history. Yet despite its success we are still making more waste. While government and private sector investment in recycling facilitated the establishment of a secondary materials economy, recycling is not sufficient to address the myriad of problems surrounding unsustainable growth in production, consumption, and waste. It is time for a radically new approach. Zero Waste is a simple goal with far-reaching implications. The goal applies to the whole production and consumption cycle – raw material extraction, product design, production practices, how products are sold and delivered, how consumers choose products, and more. Pursuing Zero Waste requires questioning the view of nature as an endless source of raw materials and an endless dumping ground for waste. In fact, Zero Waste advocates see nature as the ultimate production model – a system in which all materials are cycled back for productive reuse and nothing is wasted. Everything is made from resources and waste is a resource going in the wrong direction. To throw "away" resources is to be inefficient and uncompetitive.

Designing out waste
Zero Waste is an integral part of that new economy. While much of the focus has been at the end of a product’s lifecycle, the lion’s share of waste and associated environmental destruction happen before consumers see the product on the shelf. Zero waste has many components. Reducing, redesigning, reusing, refilling, regenerating, recycling, repairing, reclaiming, refurbishing, restoring, recharging, remanufacturing, reselling, deconstruction, and composting are the constituents of Zero Waste -- and all provide productive employment and economic development opportunities. By aligning resource management with Zero Waste, we will also be merging with a number of international trends.

Clean Production - an efficiency concept used mainly by business to reduce the impacts of production on the environment.

De-materialization - the concept of using less materials to create the same service.

Design for Disassembly – a design discipline aimed at ensuring products are designed for easy disassembly so that the parts can be reintegrated into new models and materials can be recycled.

Extended Producer Responsibility - manufacturers take responsibility for the entire life cycle of products and packaging.

Modularity - products are made in modules, so that only some modules need to be replaced to lengthen product life, for example the 'skin' of a product.

Reverse Logistics - retail chains in the west use their distribution systems in reverse to have all broken and unsaleable merchandise returned to central locations for repair, reuse, or breaking down into components for recycling. Retailers report huge economic saving from reverse logistics and it also helps in redesign as manufacturers get faster feedback about product failures. It is one of a new way of doing business -- selling service rather than product (ever wondered how they can afford all those call centers that we work for – well that proves it after sales services are in to stay). As a result, the manufacturer has a vested interest in building higher quality, longer lasting products thereby helping society use fewer materials.

Remanufacturing - With some of the trends listed above, the details are still coming in about the exact contribution each will make to a Zero Waste society. Not so with Remanufacturing, the process of returning a used, worn out product to as close to new as possible. The product is completely disassembled, cleaned, inspected, re-machined, reassembled, and tested to insure functional quality. Remanufacturing not only preserves the material constituents of durable products, but it also recaptures most of the energy, labour, and capital equipment contribution that went into the initial manufacture of the product. Remanufacturing can also create local jobs with livable wages, diversifying the economy, and attracting investment.

By embracing the concept of Zero Waste and the emerging trends that are contributing to it, we can prevent the production of even more greenhouse gases. Instead of landfilling solid waste, communities need to explore ways to use these resources to create new products, thereby saving landfill space, reducing transportation related costs and pollution, protecting the environment, and helping local economies. Zero Waste will put human society in harmony with Nature. What could be more natural?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Going barefoot for a noble cause

By Our Staff Reporter
The Hindu, 12 January 2005

CHENNAI, JAN. 11. A renewed commitment to a pioneering social reformer's dream, an innovative theatre group's series of shows and corporates walking the talk `barefoot', will bring to Chennai a string of fun and fund-raising programmes for a noble cause.

When the Palliative Care Unit of the Cancer Institute set up in 1954 by India's first woman medical graduate Dr. Muthulakshmy Reddy badly needed financial support, the EVAM theatre group stepped in to help by organising fund-raising plays. They found willing partners in a string of corporates and thus was born the `Go barefoot for a cause' campaign.

The partners include The Park, Royal Sundaram and Citibank. Besides, 10 colleges and 75 business organisations have agreed to partner in the programmes.

The schedule of events is as follows: `Barefoot in The Park' soundtrack launch at Landmark, Spencer's Plaza on January 15. The `Sing barefoot for a cause' edition at the same venue will have young college bands showcase their skills on January 15, 16 and 23. A special concert has been scheduled at Unwind Centre.

One of the highlights is the `Walk barefoot for a cause' rally on January 21, which will set out from The Park with the aim of raising awareness and collecting funds for the cause. In solidarity, more than 100 volunteers across the city will go barefoot the whole day in their respective spaces, ranging from corporate offices to college classrooms. The following day will have screenings of the Jane Fonda-starrer movie, `Barefoot in the Park' at The Park. The movie will also be shown on January 29 and 30.

EVAM's play, `Barefoot in the Park', will be staged on February 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 19 and 20.

"The programmes fit in with the belief of our 14-month-old group that entertainment can be the means to build community participation and theatre a medium for spreading awareness," said Karthik Kumar of EVAM. The group had earlier worked with Cancer Institute during the previous fund-raising campaign, `Iruvathu varai iruvathu'.

A range of merchandise ranging from stickers (Rs. 10) to badges (Rs. 50) and T-shirts (Rs. 150) will also go up for sale as part of the campaign.

Ravi Kannan, Head of Surgical Oncology, Cancer Institute, said palliative care was a low-budget but extremely crucial component of physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual support to terminally ill patients.

An estimated one lakh patients from all over India visit the Institute every year. Of this, around 65 per cent required palliative care. In spite of the great pressure on resources and dwindling international funding — once its mainstay — the Institute has grown from a cottage hospital with 12 beds and two doctors to have a research centre, Centre of Preventive Oncology, College of Oncology Sciences, Hereditary Cancer Clinic and Sanctuary — a patient counselling cell.

The message that oncologists seek to disseminate is "There is a life worth living after cancer."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Career > You > Career

Success - "knowing the right people," "being in the right place at the right time," and "using the right tools" - Anthony Robbins
Your career is not everything; your life is. But then, what is life without a career or a career without a life?

1. You are always on your own. Even if you work for a big company, you will always be on your own. Companies aren't people. They're things and they don't have feelings. If you are expecting the company to "take care of youor "do the right thing", you'll be often disappointed. There are no strongbonds in a company. No one cares more about your career than you do.Remember that, and don't expect the company to take care of you.

2. Certain jobs fit certain people best. You do have special gifts that fit you for some, disqualify you for others. Take time to assess your skills,temperament and aptitude in depth.

3. Careers are short-term. Your present job can end anytime, even if you own the company! Therefore, think short term. Don't take your present career for granted. Someone once described a consultant as a person whowakes up every morning unemployed. You should feel the same way. Wake up every morning feeling unemployed so that you'll appreciate your present job more and figure out what you're going to do next. Always have a "Plan B."(No kidding!!)

4. It's more important to be a "people person" than an "achievement-oriented person who always win at the cost of others. Peopleskills are more important than technical skills. Even in technical jobs,you have to deal with someone. The average performer who are easier to get along with last longer in his job.

5. What you accomplish today will be your calling card tomorrow. Your accomplishments will determine your marketability. In marketing yourself,it's the results that count. A soccer forward who scores in every game is easier to market than one who doesn't. So make sure you're contributing something substantial and measurable every day. And make sure you keep a written record of your results, in case you forget!

6. If you lose your job, 80% of your marketing for a new position is already done. That's right. Your reputation, results, accomplishments,people skills, contributions, friendships are all a matter of record.If you've been a contributor, if you've been kind to others and easy-to-work-with, you'll be in better demand. If not, you won't. Nobody can create friendship for you if you haven't created it for yourself.

7. Changing fields, industries, and functional specialties is difficult.The more difficult it is, the bigger the change will be. Therefore, choose your career path carefully. As management expert Peter Drucker says, "The best way to predict the future is to plan it."

8. If you're fired or laid off, don't sue your former employer. Ask yourself why you didn't see it coming; or if you did see it coming. Askyourself why you didn't do something about it. Figure out your part in causing the problem. Then set about creating a new, better life foryourself. There is a better life in your future.

9. Don't stay in a job you hate. Hating your job can kill you.

10. Success is difficult. If success were easy, everyone would be successful.

11. There's a special place for everyone. You can create the kind of future you want.

12. The workplace is fun and challenging. It can also be cruel and heartless. It rewards effort and planning, but tends to punish indifference and lack of preparation. Those who don't manage their careers, who just let things happen - often end up in painful, dead-end jobs and lifestyles.

13. You are in full control of your own future. No one can deny you a happy life if you decide to plan it and work for it. No one can stop you from becoming successful, but yourself.

14. It's never too late for a new beginning.

15. Align yourself with winners. Hang around with winners. Success really does rub off from others. "If you keep doing what you have always been doing, you're going to get what you've always gotten"

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